Most guys don’t plan, they just react. What I didn’t realize was that I had a HUGE resource of creative ideas right at home. My kids were the best resource for new and original vacation ideas.
Most guys don’t plan, they just react. I have 50% joint custody of my children and over the years, I found myself just reacting to whatever vacation time was left on the calendar. This often left me frustrated and confused while planning these vacations. I also found that I was a “creature of habit” and I kept going to the same destinations and planning the same activities that we did when I was married. What I didn’t realize was that I had a HUGE resource of creative ideas right at home. My kids were the best resource for new and original vacation ideas.
At the end of the year, I had planned a meeting with my ex and organized my calendar to outline the three school vacations per year: spring break, summer break and the end of year break (Christmas/New Years). My idea was simple. I have three vacations per year and I have three creative kids…let them choose their vacations with dad!
Of course, there are rules for every plan and budget. We had to stick to a strict budget and maintain the biggest, brightest ideas to keep the “fun factor” at a high mark. The rules I laid down were the following:
- Each child will be involved in planning one vacation with dad. Every year we will rotate the order so each child will have the opportunity to plan a different vacation.
- The trip is no longer than four days and three nights. It must emphasize affordability and creativity.
- No trading or exchanging vacations between family members.
- We will post our trips on the Vacation Board by cutting out pictures and place them on a board for the whole family to see and to keep us be motivated.
- Create a new Vacation Board at the end of each year, for the following year
All of a sudden we created family synergy! I bought a few family and travel magazines, a few markers, scissors, a glue stick and a heavy duty sketch pad and spent an evening mapping our events.
My son drew the spring break vacation and he chose a road trip to nearby Palm Springs, highlighted by a visit to a water park. He looked for pictures of pools and water parks and posted them on the Vacation Board next to his name. I was lucky to have a girlfriend who had a home in Palm Springs and we all enjoyed a great time of pool, barbeque, and the water park.
My youngest daughter was in charge of the summer family vacation and she chose a road trip. The original idea was to go RV’ing, but the gas prices were a factor this year. So we compromised on a four day road trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s condo in the High Sierras. My daughter’s pictures on the Vacation Board included a fond memory photo of an old Jeep Wagoneer, (a car that I used to have when she was little). The picture showed the Jeep stuffed with happy kids.
End of Year Break
The end of this year vacation was selected by my oldest daughter. Her pictures represented a possible train ride up to the Bay Area for New Years or the option to spend our New Years in a hotel in downtown San Diego. Both pictures of the downtown skylines and the train routes to the Bay Area were posted on the Vacation Board.
The Finishing Touch
After the kids posted their vacations photos on the board, I added a family photo of all four of us to show our unity. I am very proud that the activity was fun, affordable and something we all look forward to doing every year.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”